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Thread: Stockton, CA to Tacoma, WA & back

  1. #1
    Registered User QUICKDRAW's Avatar
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    Stockton, CA to Tacoma, WA & back

    I'm planning a trip to Tacoma to visit the grandkids the first or second week of August (my son inlaw was just stationed at Fort Lewis). I have 9 days for the trip and will probably take I5 up, 2 days of interstate and a motel for one night (I hate the interstates but have heard that I5 is pretty nice North of Redding). Three days with the grandkids and then camp my return trip South on 101. Any suggestions from you Nor-Westener's out there for motels, camp grounds, weather, things to look for or look out for.
    Jim Lynch
    K75S

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    Sign Guy Bdiver's Avatar
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    Ever been to Crater Lake? Mt St Helens? Mt Rainier? I'd say the 1st 2 would be on my list of places. Your trip does sound nice and it's true, north of Redding even I-5 turns into twisties if you go fast enough ;-) I guess it all depends on what you want to see and do.

    There are the Oregon Caves down SW of Grants Pass, the road in is great and the caves are fun. Ride out to the coast and down through the Redwoods. On the flip side you could head over the east side of the Cascades and almost any road over to the east side will be fun. Going east on the Columbia is nice on either the WA or OR sides, I just did the OR side a few weeks ago and there area a ton of waterfalls. There is the Stonehenge replica over by Maryhill St park in WA on the Columbia.

    See the Spruce Goose in McMinnville, OR, Glass Museum in Tacoma area - Dale Chuhully (sp)

    Those are a few bones to let you chew on.
    Brian - Everett, WA
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    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    +1 to Brian's comments...

    Hwy 97 north from Weed is nice alternative to take you up the eastside of the Cascades to Crater Lake area, but it's pretty darn straight in a lot of places, and though a bit less traveled than the superslab I've always seen more patrol cars going that way. On I-5 in Oregon be prepared for a pretty fast pace!

    If you elect to use I-5 I'd second the motion to see the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville if you're at all interested in aviation. The Goose is amazing, but the other aircraft (several WWII warbirds) make this a pretty special museum. Their space museum is a very recent addition. And of course just a few miles past Tacoma is the Boeing Museum of Flight just south of Seattle.

    A word on traveling thru Portland, it's been my experience to avoid I-5 through the middle of town any time other than 10AM to 2PM or after about 8PM in the evening. This section of Interstate was designed in the early days and has a few twists/turns and unexpected ramp locations and can be pretty confusing to the unfamiliar. Add in the commute drivers and it can be a bit nasty. If I must travel through Portland I usually just stick to the I-205 route through the eastern suburbs. It's busy too, but with a much more conventional design it's a lot less troublesome.

    I might suggest using the I-5 route northbound, with a one night layover around Eugene or Cottage Grove if you're interested in expediting the first leg of the run. Southbound I'd think real seriously of I-5/205 back to Vancouver, then staying on the Washington side of the Columbia until you can cross over to Hood River on the Oregon side. From Hood River you can take the highway towards Madras and Bend, this goes just east of Mt. Hood and can be a nice ride.

    If you have time with this route, I'd avoid most of I-5 by going through Klamath Falls on towards Reno, then making the loop up over Mt. Lassen (watch out for the park rangers and the radar traps! Don't ask me how I know...). As you depart the South end of the park you can turn west to get back to the Sacramento Valley, or perhaps go a bit east and south past Almanor to hookup with the Feather River Canyon Hwy 70...then down to Oroville, etc, etc.

    Oh, and since you're traveling in August, the paved forest service roads from Randle to Carson on the east side of Mt St Helens is a great route. No services for awhile, and not partiularly fast, but a beautiful area to see. The Gifford-Pinchot NF has a useful website with updated road info...that's worth checking into on any day you're thinking about this route. Unanticipated road closures do happen. This route gets you near Hood River as well...

    Not much info on Motels, I just use whatever's convenient...and I don't camp much, but those G-P USFS campgrounds east of St. Helens are pretty nice and usually not too booked up...

    Have fun!

    Cheers! Bill J

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    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    And...after I posted I re-read your original...

    So, I'd add that 101 on the Oregon Coast in August can be VERY busy. Lots of people with RV's and many rubberneckers. If you go that way make sure you anticipate a fairly slow overall pace. Beautiful ride, but it can be frustrating if you're trying to keep to schedule.

    Okay....I'll go away now!

    Bill J

    PS. I'm originally from the Reno area, and have traveled all of the roads you might use from Stockton to Tacoma for 30+ years. Let me know if you've gotten any other specific questions...

  5. #5
    Registered User QUICKDRAW's Avatar
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    Wow...Bill / Brian thanks for all the trip info. I've ridden the CA coast South from San Fran and although flown to Vancouver several times I've never traveled that area by bike. Always wanted to complete my coast ride and don't really have the time this year (only 9 days) to see every thing that I'd like to. I think Stockton to Tacoma should be a fairly easy 2 day trip. Plan to spend 3 days spoiling the grandkids and 4 days home. I can't pass on ridding the coast and with 4 days to make it I hope that I won't have to hurry to much. Wondering about the weather and riding gear. Probably HOT up to Tacoma and cold comming South on the coast. Trying to decide on the Tourmaster suit or the Revit Air mesh gear. Any advice?

    Thanks again.
    Jim Lynch
    K75S

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    If you travel the Oregon coast in August be prepared for fog..... There are lots of campgrounds with showers. They usually run around $22.00 a night. Some of the little towns have fairly reasonable rates on motels too.

    Four days to do the coast is lots of time to go slow and enjoy the scenery, although it's so much fun to ride it's hard to stop sometimes.... Enjoy your trip and maybe I'll see you out there....
    Steve Clark
    94 K75s

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    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    OK - Going North
    Back road aleart!!
    From Red Bluff on I-5 take 36 west. Then take hwy 3 through peanut and hayfork to Weaverville. Then go north on 3 through trinity center past Etna to Fort Jones. At Fort Jones take the road to Scott Bar to Hwy 96 along the Klamath River. Go west on 96 to Happy Camp and go north on Indian Creek Road (Happy Camp Road). This will drop you on Hwy 199 just south of Grants Pass. Roll north back to I-5.

    These roads make The Dragon look like a supermarket parking lot. There is little traffic. The country is big with jagged granite peaks and broad vistas, but for the obvious reason, this is no place for sightseeing.
    Last edited by Bob_M; 06-12-2009 at 03:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quickdraw View Post
    Wow...Bill / Brian thanks for all the trip info. I've ridden the CA coast South from San Fran and although flown to Vancouver several times I've never traveled that area by bike. Always wanted to complete my coast ride and don't really have the time this year (only 9 days) to see every thing that I'd like to. I think Stockton to Tacoma should be a fairly easy 2 day trip. Plan to spend 3 days spoiling the grandkids and 4 days home. I can't pass on ridding the coast and with 4 days to make it I hope that I won't have to hurry to much. Wondering about the weather and riding gear. Probably HOT up to Tacoma and cold comming South on the coast. Trying to decide on the Tourmaster suit or the Revit Air mesh gear. Any advice?

    Thanks again.
    You're right about the temperatures, not familiar with the Tourmaster suit, but very likely you will need the Air mesh gear. Any possibility of wearing one and packing the other along. That's what I'd do...but I'm pretty fussy about having the right gear for the weather, even if I need to pack light on other things to make it all fit. Tough call actually as that coastal route can be down right cool some mornings. And foggy, oh YEAH! Left Crescent City one morning in August and it was so darn thick it was almost like riding at night until got well inland towards Redding. And 4 days should be adequate as Steve mentioned, I was just being cautionary after reading trips reports by others about how long it took to travel the Oregon coast line. It's a great ride, but I prefer the southern end of it past Coos Bay...Have a good trip!

    BJ

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